Bottas joins Maldonado at Williams for 2013

2013 F1 season

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Jerez, 2012Valtteri Bottas will make his Formula One race debut for Williams next year, the team has confirmed.

Bottas will partner Pastor Maldonado at the team, leaving Bruno Senna without a drive for the 2013 season.

Team principal Frank Williams said: “In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing and I am especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams.

“Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver. Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our departing driver Bruno Senna for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward.”

Bottas said it was the accomplishment of a “lifelong dream” to make his F1 debut with “one of the most legendary teams in the sport”.

“I?ve really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat,” he added. “I?m looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.”

The 23-year-old made 15 appearances for the team in Formula One practice sessions during this season after winning the GP3 title last year.

Bottas’s credentials include two wins in the prestigious F3 Masters race in 2009 and 2010, and victories in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and Northern European Championship in 2008.

He is the second rookie driver to be confirmed for the 2013 F1 season, following Esteban Gutierrez’s confirmation at Sauber.

Maldonado added: “I?m really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told that I would be continuing with the team in 2013. 2012 was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance. I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.”

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91 comments on Bottas joins Maldonado at Williams for 2013

  1. The Limit said on 28th November 2012, 13:25

    I don’t think many are surprised by Senna getting dropped by Williams. Bottas has been in the background all season long, the writing was on the wall from the start. In all honesty, I had hoped Senna would have shown more performance but that has not been the case. He comes across as nice enough, but performance wise, he doesn’t stand out from a dozen other drivers who are currently in GP2 wanting to make the step up to F1.
    In his favour is ofcourse his family name and the potential to bring big money with him in sponsorship, so his career is not totally dead in the water. We once said the samething about Pastor Maldonado, that it was all about the millions he was bringing to Williams, but he has shown promise this year and has one victory under his belt. That counts for everything, but it would be nice to still see Senna in some form in F1 next year.
    However, I don’t think it will be with Force India.

  2. Eddie Jordan was spot on once again

  3. dot_com (@dot_com) said on 28th November 2012, 13:58

    They had to make sure the whole team had left Brazil before making this announcement! I’m really looking forward to seeing Bottas in action – there certainly is a lot of promise in this one, and Williams need a wonder-kid!

    I am sorry for Bruno, but I’m sure he saw it coming. Hopefully he has something else in place for next year, because he’s shown some great driving on track this year, despite his poor qualifying. He also seems like a really nice guy, from watching him in interviews.

  4. David (@neiana) said on 28th November 2012, 14:35

    Senna to Caterham/Marussia to bring more money and move into midfield or HRT to maybe continue to exist? Maybe?

  5. An obvious decision. Period. Bottas has shown huge potential and Williams needed to get him into a racing seat in order to at least have a go at confirming that. Free practice wasn’t enough for Bottas. I have a feeling he’ll do well in 2013 if Williams keep developing the car. Not saying he’s gonna be a race winner but outscoring Maldonado at the end of the season isn’t really off the books. I’m quite expecting that to happen, honestly.

    I’m curious if Williams decide to keep Senna in the team as a thrid / reserve driver or give him the boot completely. Keeping him would be a reasonable option for both of them, as Senna is unlikely to find a seat and Williams don’t really have anyone better to hire for that particular role.

  6. Didnt want Kobayashi to go and hes gone, and same with Senna. Heres to hoping Kovalinen isnt dropped by Caterham and if he is then heres to hoping Lotus get their act together and sign him. Grosjean cost Lotus 3rd in the WCC.

  7. AndrewT (@andrewt) said on 28th November 2012, 17:45

    it’s good to see, that a team with such a history as Williams signs a driver that won’t bring sponsorship money with himself. it means two things, first, the financial situation of the team is somewhat stabilized, and second, Bottas must be an exceptional talent (of course we can see his FP1 performances, but that’s only the top of the iceberg) to be able to secure a set as a rookie. and in this respect, i absolutley don’t care which of those two drivers has been dropped in favour of Bottas, but seems to be logical not to lose someone that brings 50 million, instead of the one that “only” 12.

    however, this is 2,5 less chance for the likes of Kobayashi, Kovalainen, Sutil and Alguersuari to find themselves a seat for 2013…

  8. So we have left: one seat at Marussia (which I expect to be filled by Max Chilton), one seat at Caterham (which I think should possibly go to Geido Van Der Garde), two seats at Force India (one of which will likely be confirmed to be Di Resta – even though I feel he has been out-classed by Hulkenberg of late; one which could possibly go to Kovalinen – unlikely maybe but I’ll be hopeful!) and one at Lotus (as much as I think Grosjean is a liability, I feel Lotus will retain him for at least another year).

    So really, there are two seats that may be up for grabs (although I could be very much mistaken): one at Caterham and one at Force India. HRT likely won’t be on the grid next year due to their financial problems and financially unnatractive location, so I expect some fierce competition for race seats!

  9. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 28th November 2012, 21:59

    In the immortal words of hubert farsnworth:

    Good news everybody!

  10. The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 29th November 2012, 1:21

    Who will be the new Williams 3rd driver? Without any race seat looking available, maybe Senna should have stayed on at Williams in the reserve position, There’s always the possibility of Maldonado receiving a race ban.

  11. From what i have understood, williams car was top six car all year and just needed a driver who has the speed and the talent to use it. There is no doubt that Valtteri is that person. He is Finnish also, bound to be fast and i see wc in the near future and also more success than anyone expected on the upcoming season.

  12. javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 29th November 2012, 16:27

    I hope this mean that Bottas will be the first driver for Williams and PM will be #2?
    From where I see it, Maldonado is there because of the finances he brings; such huge finances in fact to overlook his temporary ban from the Monaco track in GP2, and his many mental mistakes this year. Clearly, he has some skill, but it is completely offset by his erratic history IMHO.

    Bottas got his seat because of…. talent.

    Im hoping Williams will operate as a meritocracy rather than a plutocracy.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th November 2012, 9:21

      I keep feeling a bit down when reading about a ban several years back and how that means someone is no good @javelinsharp.

      Personally I am convinced people ARE able to change their behaviour if given the right impulses to do so from their surroundings. So while Pastor is surely not a mr. niceguy, that is the reason why he took longer to get into F1, because its often ruined his chances.
      But look at how he has been driving after Grosjean got his penalty and you will see that after that he did in fact take care and did not have any penalty for bad driving since. Not to mention having qualified on the first 2 rows on several occasions.

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 29th November 2012, 19:04

    Good news, but I’m not that excited. Williams still had a pretty dismal year so unless they can deliver a significantly better car next year I fear that Bottas may get lost in the mire.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 30th November 2012, 8:57

      The car was (relatively) fantastic – it was better at the start of the year than Force India (and, at a stretch, the Ferrari, for a start. It was the driver line-up that was mediocre.

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